While bar code scanners may grab the lion's share of the spotlight in front of the general public, bar code printers labor away in back offices and warehouses, cranking out bar code labels by the millions.
Ranging from tabletop models to larger industrial printers, label printers fall into four basic categories, dot matrix, ink jet, laser, and thermal.
Due to limitations in bar code quality and reliability, dot matrix, ink jet, and laser printers tend to produce an unsatisfactory finished product. That's why thermal bar code printers, with excellent print quality and bar code readability, and low long-term maintenance costs are favored for most bar code printing applications.
Types of thermal bar code printers
The two most common types of thermal bar code label printers are:
- Direct thermal
- Thermal transfer
Here's a little more information about each type of thermal printer.
Direct thermal bar code label printers
If you've ever left a receipt from a grocery store or a gas station out in the sun and watched the paper turn completely black, then you've seen the results of direct thermal printing. Originally employed with copy and fax machines, direct thermal printing uses chemically coated paper, and is considered very effective for printing bar code labels.
Thermal transfer bar code label printers
Similar technology is used in thermal transfer printing as direct thermal, but replace the chemically coated paper with non-sensitized label stock and a special, inked ribbon. Coated with dry thermal transfer ink, the polyester ribbon sits between the print head and the label. The heated print head transfers ink to the label surface, where the ink dries and adheres to the label. Once the ribbon is peeled away, the bar code image remains.
Find bar code label printers on the link on the left hand menu.
Need to replace a bar code printer? Take a look at this article on Choosing a Bar Code Label Printer.
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